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One of the deadliest forms of Iranian military support to insurgents in Iraq is the use of armor-piercing roadside bombs called explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs.

A senior Bush administration official said one idea discussed among senior policymakers some months ago was to begin covertly supplying Iranian opposition groups with captured EFPs for use against Iranian military targets in Iran.

The idea was that if the Iranians began seeing their arms used against them they might think twice about supplying them to the insurgents.

However, three U.S. military, intelligence and defense officials said that whether or not there was discussion of such a plan, it was never implemented.

A Pentagon spokesman said no covert action plan for EFPs was discussed by senior leaders at the Pentagon. A U.S. intelligence official said: “I know of no one in the intelligence community who was either aware of this idea or was party to any discussion of it. If it ever was kicked around somewhere, it wasn’t part of a formal process and certainly - absolutely -didn’t go anywhere.”

A military spokesman in Baghdad also said there was never a plan to covertly supply Iranian opposition groups with the EFPs.

Such lethal covert action would have required a presidential authorization, and none was sought or approved, the spokesman said.

A report on Iranian weapons found in Iraq made public last month by the Counter Terrorist Center at West Point stated that 28 weapons caches out of more than 100 caches uncovered this year contained EFPs or components.

A 2007 Pentagon intelligence report stated that at least 170 American and allied troops were killed by EFPS and 620 others wounded.

The powerful charges are outlined in the report as can-shaped high-explosives that send out a melted-metal projectile that can penetrate armor plating.

Iranian media have reported seven violent attacks inside Iran between August and November, including assassinations or attempts against Iranian officials or clerics. The attacks were blamed on Iranian insurgent groups, including the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), Jundollah, and the People’s Liberation Forces of East Kurdistan.

Improve human spying

Former CIA officer Duane “Dewy” Clarridge agrees with Sen. John McCain on the need to create a more effective U.S. human spying system.

During the presidential campaign, Mr. McCain called for setting up a new, more agile human spying agency modeled after the World War II predecessor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was composed of a combination of Ivy League intellectuals, businessmen and adventurers who carried out clandestine spying and covert-action operations behind enemy lines.

President-elect Barrack Obama also has called for improving human spying but has provided no specifics during the campaign on what he would do as president.

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